Men's basketball announces 2017-18 schedule, which features Puerto Rico trip

Men's basketball announces 2017-18 schedule, which features Puerto Rico trip

OLD WESTBURY, N.Y. — The NYIT men's basketball team will be spending Thanksgiving in Puerto Rico.

Coach Kevin Hamilton announced his 2017-18 schedule on Monday. And the slate is highlighted by a trip to San Juan for games against Puerto Rico-Bayamon (Nov. 22), Montevallo (Nov. 24) and Wayne State-Nebraska (Nov. 25) in the Puerto Rico Thanksgiving Classic at Roberto Clemente Coliseum.

"It's a highlight for us because we were invited to come down to play against great competition," coach Kevin Hamilton said. "Montevallo is ranked in the top five this year. Wayne State is always a good program. And some kids have never been to Puerto Rico, or out of the continental United States."

Hamilton added that the trip should be special for his son, point guard Kieran Hamilton, as well as freshman guard Luis Cartagena Jr. Both are of Puerto Rican descent.

Kieran played for Puerto Rico's 16-and-under national team. His older brother, Kevin Jr., played for the national team.

The Bears open their season in Wilmington, Del., on Nov. 10 against the host school at the Wilmington Tip-off Classic.

SEE THE FULL SCHEDULE HERE

NYIT's home opener is Nov. 14 against Caldwell at 7 p.m.

The Bears open East Coast Conference play against Mercy on Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Recreation Hall.

The schedule also features a trip to Fort Lauderdale to face Nova Southeastern University on Dec. 11.

Kevin Hamilton's first recruiting class is expected to transform a squad that went 8-18 overall and 6-12 in league play during the 2016-17 season. The newcomers include Opong Bramble (Kingstown, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), Szu Yao Sun (Taipei, Taiwan), Cartagena (White Plains), Belmin Purisic (Brooklyn), Jake Russo (West Islip) and Laurynas Stonkas (Vilnius, Lithuania).

Top returnees include Jeffrey Hayden (13.8 ppg) and Kieran Hamilton (12.8 ppg).

"The league is so competitive. There are so many good teams, so many great coaches," Kevin Hamilton said. "Really, our No. 1 goal is to be much more competitive."